Frustrating as the light schedule has been at times for the Boston Bruins, the team had lost back-to-back contests just once this season entering play Wednesday.
Thanks to a four-goal onslaught late in the first period at KeyBank Center, that's still the case for the Bruins, who earned a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres to move to 10-6-0 in 2021-22.
Boston overcame a so-so start, including a weak goal allowed by Jeremy Swayman prior to waking up and skating away from western New York back at .500 on the road this season (4-4-0). Here are some other takeaways from the win:
Swayman settles down
Through eight starts this season, Jeremy Swayman has delivered only two real clunkers for the Bruins: a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 20, when he allowed five goals on 24 shots, and Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Calgary Flames, when he surrendered four goals on 32 shots.
Wednesday didn't start off great for Swayman, when he spotted the Sabres (7-10-2) a 1-0 lead on a Kyle Okposo goal that really should've been stopped:
Swayman, who celebrated his 23rd birthday Wednesday, went on to save 24 of the 25 shots he faced in all, recording his best single-game save percentage since Boston's season-opening 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars, when he made 27 stops on 28 shots.
When the Bruins were in the midst of a sluggish sequence in the second period, Swayman made a stop on a penalty shot on Buffalo's John Hayden to maintain a three-goal cushion for the B's, halting any semblance of momentum for the Sabres in its tracks.
Swayman improved to 6-3 on the season with a 2.23 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
Balanced effort on D
The six defensemen wound up playing similar minutes, with Mike Reilly leading the way at 21:20 and his partner, Jakub Zboril, the least at 17:34.
Charlie McAvoy in all likelihood would've played more than the 18:38 he logged, but he left the game late in the third period after Zemgus Girgensons received a 10-minute misconduct for boarding McAvoy.
There was a positive update on McAvoy following the game, at least:
McAvoy and Zboril each had assists for the Bruins and Reilly, who'd scored just one goal on the season, had the final goal of Boston's first period onslaught.
The Reilly-Zboril pairing was solid throughout the evening, with Reilly taking a team-high six shots and also seeing plenty of time on both the power play and penalty kill.
Zboril, meanwhile, one of Boston's three first-round picks from its much-maligned 2015 draft, has recorded an assist in three of his last four games for the Bruins; could it be only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net for the first time in his career?
Second line sighting
Patrice Bergeron scored the first Boston goal at 13:29 of the first period, just over two and a half minutes after Buffalo had taken the lead, on assists from David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. No surprise there.
While Pastrnak (power play) would go on to score as well, the Bruins also got goals from both Charlie Coyle and former Sabre Taylor Hall, essential ingredients if Boston is to establish itself among the elite teams in the league.
Coyle's goal stood as the game-winner, 51 seconds after Bergeron's strike on a feed from linemate Nick Foligno. It was the sixth goal of the season for Coyle, who matched his total from a season ago in just his 16th appearance for the B's after potting six in 51 games last year.
Hall, who has seemingly been stuck in neutral for much of the season, scored his fifth goal on the five-minute major due to the boarding call on McAvoy.
The Bruins return to the ice for a Black Friday matinee against the New York Rangers at TD Garden at 1 p.m.